Scottish Daily Mail

Po­lice stopped ‘blood brother’ killer hours after at­tack . . . then let him go

- From Claire Duf­fin and Tim Lam­den in Brus­sels Crime · Terrorism · Middle East News · Incidents · Arrests · Paris · Belgium · Idaho · Volkswagen · Volkswagen Caribe · Volkswagen Polo iv tdi · Volkswagen · PlayStation · PlayStation 4 · Sony · PlayStation · mobile phone · France · Syria · Madrid · Cambrai · Molenbeek-Saint-Jean · Molenbeek-Saint-Jean · Montreuil · Bernard Cazeneuve · Federal Government of Belgium · Thalys

ONE of the three blood broth­ers at the heart of the Paris mas­sacre was stopped – and let go – by po­lice near the Bel­gian bor­der hours after the at­tacks.

Ab­deslam Salah, 26, is now the quarry in a vast in­ter­na­tional man­hunt.

One of his broth­ers, Ibrahim Salah, was one of seven ter­ror­ists who died while car­ry­ing out the Paris at­tacks, while the third Mo­hammed Salah, was in cus­tody in Bel­gium last night after ap­par­ently be­ing ar­rested in the Brus­sels sub­urb known as the ji­hadi cap­i­tal of Europe.

Yes­ter­day an in­ter­na­tional ar­rest war­rant was is­sued for Ab­deslam Salah. The pub­lic have been warned not to ap­proach him.

In­cred­i­bly, French of­fi­cials re­vealed that po­lice had ques­tioned him, checked his ID and then re­leased him hours after the at­tacks.

The ques­tion­ing came when po­lice pulled over a Volk­swa­gen Golf car con­tain­ing three peo­ple in Cam­brai near the French-Bel­gian bor­der at 9am on Satur­day.

This was hours after au­thor­i­ties had al­ready iden­ti­fied Ab­deslam Salah as the per­son who had rented a Volk­swa­gen Polo that was aban­doned out­side the Bat­a­clan con­cert hall.

But the oc­cu­pants were al­lowed to drive on as of­fi­cials found noth­ing sus­pi­cious, it is un­der­stood. Po­lice in Paris first linked the at­tacks to

‘The sit­u­a­tion is not un­der con­trol’

Bel­gium when they found a num­ber of park­ing tick­ets from the Brus­sels sub­urb of Sint-Jans-Molen­beek in a VW Polo with Bel­gian num­ber plates found out­side the Bat­a­clan.

An­other car – also with Bel­gian plates – was found aban­doned, packed with Kalash­nikov as­sault ri­fles in the eastern Paris sub­urb of Mon­treuil on Sun­day, lead­ing to spec­u­la­tion some of the at­tack­ers have es­caped. It was used dur­ing two of the drive-by shoot­ings at restau­rants.

It is now thought that the at­tacks were planned in Bel­gium by ter­ror­ists who com­mu­ni­cated with each un­der the noses of se­cu­rity us­ing a Sony PlayS­ta­tion 4.

Bel­gian fed­eral home af­fairs min­is­ter Jan Jam­bon has said that the de­vice has been used by Is­lamic State agents to com­mu­ni­cate be­cause it is no­to­ri­ously hard to mon­i­tor, and it is even more dif­fi­cult to keep track of than the What­sApp mo­bile phone mes­sag­ing ap­pli­ca­tion.

The gang, which is also be­lieved to in­clude a woman and two men who en­tered Europe pos­ing as Syr­ian refugees, are thought to have trav­elled from Molen­beek to Paris in rented cars.

The sub­urb, which has a pop­u­la­tion 90,000, has a large im­mi­grant pop­u­la­tion and is one of the most de­prived ar­eas of the Bel­gain cap­i­tal. It is known by lo­cals as the ‘den of ter­ror­ists’ and has been linked to a num­ber of deadly ter­ror at­tacks in re­cent years.

Seven peo­ple were ar­rested in 24 hours in Brus­sels after they were linked to the Paris at­tacks, in­clud­ing five in Molen­beek. There were fur­ther raids in Molen­beek last night.

The first, ap­par­ently of Mo­hammed Salah, hap­pened at around 5pm on Satur­day, when plain clothes of­fi­cers swooped on a man in his 20s out­side the Osseghem metro sta­tion in Molen­beek.

Dra­matic video footage of his ar­rest shows the sus­pect – dressed head to toe in black – wrestling with of­fi­cers as they try to put him in hand­cuffs. They even­tu­ally man­aged to de­tain him by forc­ing him down into a kneel­ing down against a wall while an­other armed po­lice of­fi­cer trains his weapon on him.

Jules Muk­endi, who lives in the street, and saw the ar­rest said: ‘There were three plain clothes po­lice­man in the street, and an un­marked po­lice car. I think they were wait­ing for some­one. When he ap­peared, he tried to run into the un­der­ground sta­tion.

‘They shouted at him and ran after him and pulled him to the floor. They held him on the ground for more than 30 min­utes while backup ar­rived. He was just a boy, not a man. Not more than 20 years.’

Then, at around 9pm on Satur­day, armed po­lice sealed of all en­trances and ex­its to Place Com­mu­nale, a large square in front of the town hall in Molen­beek. They swooped on a top floor flat and ar­rested a man in his 20s.

French in­te­rior min­is­ter Bernard Cazeneuve said that the at­tack on Paris was ‘pre­pared abroad, by a group of in­di­vid­u­als based in Bel­gium who ben­e­fited from ac­com­plices in France’.

Bel­gium has been iden­ti­fied as Europe’s Is­lamic State heart­land. Per capita it is the Euro­pean coun­try pro­vid­ing the high­est num­ber of cit­i­zens to fight with Syr­ian rebels in re­cent years. Some 440 Bel­gians are be­lieved to have trav­elled to Syria to fight be­tween late 2011 and the end of 2014, ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Cen­tre for the Study of Rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion.

At least 30 are said to have trav­elled from Molen­beek alone. Last night the Bel­gian gov­ern­ment ad­mit­ted it had lost con­trol of Molen­beek. Jan Jam­bon, the in­te­rior min­is­ter, said: ‘In Molen­beek, the sit­u­a­tion is not un­der con­trol at the mo­ment.’

A prom­i­nent, Moroc­can-born mem­ber of the group be­hind the 2004 Madrid train bomb­ings that killed 191 was from Molen­beek, while one of the Char­lie Hebdo ter­ror­ists who car­ried out an at­tack at kosher deli in Paris in Jan­uary ac­quired weapons in the district.

The Thalys train ter­ror­ist, who launched an at­tack on a high-speed train from Brus­sels to Paris in Au­gust but was over­pow­ered by pas­sen­gers be­fore he killed any­one, had been liv­ing in Molen­beek with his sis­ter in the weeks be­fore he car­ried out the at­tack.

 ??  ?? Man­hunt: The ar­rest war­rant for ‘dan­ger­ous’ Ab­deslam Salah
Man­hunt: The ar­rest war­rant for ‘dan­ger­ous’ Ab­deslam Salah

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